Written by Nick Cavataro Jr.
After a series of strong performances this past April in Charlotte and in June in Ft. Lauderdale, the Greenwich YWCA Dolphins Swim Team continued their strong efforts this past month with outstanding efforts in Middletown (CT), Buffalo (NY), Richmond (VA) and Irvine (CA) in the Olympic distance 50-Meter long course distance venues.
Leading the way for the Dolphins were Thomas Dillinger, 16, and Alexander Lewis, 17. The duo went up against the best 18-and-under swimmers in the USA at the 2013 USA Swimming Speedo Junior National Swimming Championships at the Woollet Aquatic Center in Irvine, CA.
The meet, the largest of its kind in the USA with over 1200 swimmers, featured athletes 18-and-under from throughout the nation competing in the standard 16 Olympic event format.
With over 175 swimmers in most events, Lewis led the way with a top finish of 30th in the 50-Meter Freestyle at 23.90. The Greenwich High School rising senior also placed 42nd in the 100-Backstroke at 58.63; and, 79th in the 100-Butterflly at 56.82. Lewis also posted a time trial clocking of 53.06 in the 100-Freestyle.
Lewis’ efforts ranked him as the fastest Connecticut swimmer this year in the 17-18-year old age group in the 50 and 100-Meter Freestyles as well as the 100-Meter Backstroke.
Dillinger, a rising GHS Junior, claimed 40th in the 200-Indvidual Medley at 2:08.16. Dillinger was also 51st and 52nd respectively, in the 50-Free at 24.06 and 400-Individual Medley at 4:34.76. Dillinger also posted clockings of 52.58, 1:56.94 and 4:06.73 in the 100, 200 and 400-Freestyles, respectively.
Dillinger’s times at the meet rank him as the Top 15-16 year old swimmer in Connecticut in the 50, 100 and 200-Freestyle as well as in the number two spot in the 200 and 400-Individual Medley races and the third spot in the 400-Free.
Dillinger’s 50-Free-time of 24.08 at the July Connecticut Senior Championship Meet at Wesleyan University in Middletown was also a state record for that age group.
“I can’t say enough about Alexander’s and Thomas’s efforts in Irvine. For them to come out and post lifetime best efforts and race some of the USA’s finest in their first National Championship meet ever and not miss a beat, speaks volumes about their focus, dedication and enthusiasm. Both have worked very hard the past few years in and out of the pool on their conditioning and strength and I’m confident this is just the start of their climb into the forefront of USA Swimming,” commented Dolphins Coach Nick Cavataro.
In the July Connecticut Senior Championship Meet, Dillinger was named the meet’s outstanding swimmer winning the 200-Meter Free (1:56.26) and 200-IM (2:09.19). Dillinger also posted a state age group (15-16) record in the 50-Free (24.08) taking silver in that event as well as in the 800-Free (8:35.82) and 1500-Free (16:26.44). The 400-IM saw him take bronze at 4:39.45.
Lewis, swimming an adjusted program was the silver medalist in the 100-Fly at 57.93 and was also fifth in the 200-Back (2:15.99) and sixth in the 50-Free (24.78).
Other Dolphins at the Senior Championship meet included Graham Hazlett, 15, whose best placing was ninth in the 100-Meter Backstroke at 1:03.16, which qualified him for the first time for the USA Swimming Speedo Eastern Sectional Championships in Buffalo. Hazlett, a rising sophomore at Exeter (NH) also was 14th in the 200-Back (2:18.65).
GHS rising Senior Taylor Moore also qualified for the Eastern Sectional Meet with a 26.30 clocking in the 50-Free. Ryan Bedell, 13; Brooke Collins, 15; and, Kate Hazlett, 12 also competed at the meet.
At the Buffalo Meet, held at the Bert Flickinger Pool at the Erie Community College, Moore reached the finals of the 50-Free at 25.09, taking thirtieth. Hazlett was sixtieth in the 100-Back at 1:03.19. “This was great experience for Hazlett and Moore and this is the exact track the Lewis and Dillinger were on last year!” commented Cavataro.
Three Dolphins traveled with the Connecticut Zone Championship Team to the USA Eastern Zone Long Course Age Group Championships on Aug. 7-10, held at the Collegiate School Aquatic Center in Richmond, Virginia.
Meghan Lynch, 10, along with Alexander, 9, and Kate Hazlett, 12, attended the meet which was contested in the 2008 USA Olympic Trials pool, which was purchase, dismantled and re-assembled at the Richmond school. The meet, which featured over 1000 competitors from Maine to Virginia in 138-events, with 40-80 swimmers in each event, is the climax of the Long Course Age Group season in the USA.
Hazlett, 12, led the way striking gold in the 50-Meter Freestyle with a state resident record time of 27.90 and also claimed the top spot in the 50-Butterfly at 29.96, The Greenwich Academy student was also the bronze medalist in the 100-Butterfly (1:07.66) and was eleventh in both the 100-Free at 1:04.07 and 50-Back (33.70). Hazlett’s 50-Free time was the eighth fastest in the USA by a 12-year old this year!
Lynch, claimed gold in the 100-Breast at 1:24.46 also picked up a silver medal in the 50-Breast at 38.80 as well as posting a pair of fourth place efforts in the 100-Free and 200-Free with respective times of 1:08.90 and 2:27.33; and, was eighth in the 400-Free at 5:11.03.
Alexander Hazlett, 9, competing in his first Zone meet best finish was seventeenth in the 50-Fly at 34.81 and was also 21st in the 50-Free at 34.81.
The July Connecticut Long Course State Age Group Championships held at Wesleyan and at the Cheshire Community Pool more than 30 Dolphins competed in the three and one-half 120 event meet.
Pacing the Dolphins with individual gold medals and state titles were Kate Hazlett, Meghan Lynch and Claire Michalik.
Hazlett, 12, took gold in the 11-12-year old 50-Meter Freestyle (28.16) and 50-Fly (30.07) and was third in both the 100-Butterfly (1:08.47) and 100-Freestyle (1:04.41) as well as fifth in the 50-Breaststroke.
Lynch, who was 9 on the first day of the meet, claimed five golds with titles in the 100, 200, 400-Free with respective times of 1:08.21, 2:33.13 and 5:13.42 as well as gold in the 50 and 100-Breaststroke at 39.14 and 1:25.00, respectively. The 400-Free as well as both the 50 and 100-Breasttsroke were the fastest in the USA by a 9-year old, with the 100-Free and 200-yard Free ranking number two.
Michalik, 10, claimed a pair of golds winning the 50-Backstroke and Butterfly events with respective times of 34.45 and 37.94. Michalik also placed second in the 100-Fly (1:24.02); fourth in the 100-Back (1:23.58) and seventh and eighth respectively in the 50-Free (33.77) and 50-Breast (44.95).
Michalik and Lynch also combined for three more relay golds including a state record effort in the 10-and-under girls 200-Medley Relay (2:31.79) as well as in 200-Free Relay (2:15.23) and the 400-Medley Relay (5:32.63) with Samantha Ennis and Avery Sammons, both 10. Lynch and Michalik also struck for silver in the 400-Free Relay (5:11.29) as they combined with Marcela Winget and Ursula Wise.
Hazlett combined for a silver medal in the 11-12-year old 200-Free Relay (2:03.44) and a bronze in the 400-Medley Relay (5:11.09) with Allison Opuszynski and Emmy Sammons, Isabelle Wise and Julia Merrill.
Other Dolphins medalists included Alexander Hazlett, 9, who was second in the 50-Free (32.37); fifth in the 100-Fly (1:26.08) and seventh in the 100-Free (1:12.84).
Julia Merrill, 12, was sixth in the 50-Free (30.09). Taylor Moore, 16, was fifth in the 50-Free (25.20) and Emmy Sammons, 12, was seventh in the 100-Back at 1:15.35.
Other Dolphins reaching the Top 16 scoring positions included: Brooke Collins, 15; Thomas Dillinger, 16; Kate Ennis, 12; Riley Ennis, 15; Samantha Ennis, 9; Clemmie Galliano, 10; Maddie Haley, 10; and, Isabelle Wise, 12.
Other Dolphin qualifiers included: Caitlin Bedell, 10; Robert Bergbaum, 10; John Dustin, 15; Farrah Frattaroli, 15; Bridget Haley, 12; Ryan Lynch, 13, Jaden Nygaard, 10; and, Ben Schinto, 10.